The "Know it all" MRI

It has been a hard 3 weeks. A sudden onset of hypertone/spasticity from head to toe on the right side. Hard to focus eyes, especially reading my computer monitor. Some of you may remember having this: excess saliva and mucus in mouth and throat, fear of choking, also difficulty swallowing at times. I was feeling like I did After my stroke when I got out of the hospital. I am one and a half years since stroke.
So the doctor was of course concerned and ordered an MRI. ( my 3rd).

I had the typical brain MRI and one with injection. With relief, the report showed no
stroke or impending stroke. A followup with a good neurologist was next.

1st of all, he agreed with me that I am one of those 1/3 of stroke survivors who will be plagued with this spasticity for a long time, or maybe for good. I have to stay on top of it drugs and exercise constantly or it will creep up to the point of muscle contraction.
What about the eyesight and excess saliva, and also the increased morning spasms?

He said "well the MRI does not tell us everything. I explained to him that at the 6 month mark of my stroke, I could walk a mile, my balance was perfect and I had few spasms. Double vision was getting better and better. (almost perfect now).
So why am I regressing? not progressing? he said something about late-onset symptoms and wants me to increase my mind numbing muscle relaxers and go back to physical therapy.

Even the best Physical therapists don’t know how to deal with Spasticity/hypertone.

My mindset today dear friends is just to give up and cry. I’m so tired of the fight. I plan today to just sit and pray in my easy chair. I have to give up my beloved strength training for a while as it makes me worse.
I’m getting NO real answers from 3 of my doctors or the all-knowing MRI.
Sorry to rant, and hope your Christmas was special.


Hi @Outlander

Between @Mrs5K Life is Full of Surprises today
My own ongoing Spaciness and your own trials & tribulations we all seem to have ups & downs



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@Outlander you’re sure having a rough ride at the minute. I really hope you get a bit of relief from at least some of your symptoms soon. Although your neurologist thinks you may be stuck with your spasticity for a good while never give up hope as things may just improve. Right now though you probably just need to take it all in.

It’s good that the MRI showed no new stroke. Let’s hope the physio will help things.

Stay strong, have your down day but bounce back stronger & more determined than ever. You’ve got this & we’re all behind you.

Take care.



@Mrs5K @SimonInEdinburgh
Ann: thanks so much for your heartfelt response. Simon prompted me to read your post on “life is full of surprises” and I’m so sorry you’ve gone through those awful surprises. Thinking of you and wishing you better days.


Thank you Derek, I really feel for you. I read your posts and realise how lucky I am that I don’t have spasticity. If there was a magic wand out there I’d wave it for you all.


I am so sorry for this setback Outlander, you’ve been fighting it so hard to get yourself to a better place in your recovery. You’re entitled to a good cry, to give up and take a day off and your brain is just making sure that you do just that. :people_hugging: :people_hugging:

You’ll come back fighting when you’re ready :wink: I know you will :grin:

Sounds like you too have had a TIA, and all those symptoms you mentioned above, I remember so well…right down to almost choking on air! And you’re right to give up the strength training for while, that would be putting too much pressure on your head. So keep it light and do more walking, if you can, for now.

You’re down today, but you are far from out. Forget about stroke, you can’t do anything about it anyway!
Relax! put on your favourite music and just dabble with paint for while and see where the brush strokes take your mind. Don’t look to or aim for perfection, just go where the colours take you…starting with whatever colour takes your fancy right now…and breath…slow, deep, relaxing breaths. You can do that! And you do it good. No one’s dead and you’re not dyeing but you can paint and you can play! :people_hugging:


Lorraine: That put a smile on my face and a tear in the eye at the same time. Such good advice. Play, Play, Play…that’s the ticket. Thanks good friend.


Hello Derek,

I was wondering how you were doing so thanks for the update, and sorry it’s not going so well. I have my own problems, which had me screaming in pain in my stroke-side eye and a horrid feeling I was going cross eyed last night. Today was my classic locked-glute day, but those are getting milder each time. Neither Ophthalmologist has any idea what’s really going on with my eye, so I know how frustrating it is not to have answers. The most amount of help and understanding comes from my Chinese Doctor, who sees me for acupuncture twice a week. For instance, last time I saw him, on Saturday, I asked him “what could possibly be the answer to me feeling there are worms wriggling about under my eyelid?”… the answer felt so true “nerves usually give that feeling.”

Thinking further, I estimate a period of about 6 months after a stroke for residual muscle tone to wither away. This explains why a deterioration period of half a year to a year follows a stroke. Residual muscles are not accessed by the brain, but the muscles that live on are definitely under brain control. The trouble is that they are under rough control, the redundant part of the brain that takes over is a complete beginner. Thus the movements are ungainly, in the rough, and need much in terms of refinement. Repetition leads to refinement, so, the standard answer to spasticity is stretch and keep moving. We know of a couple more tricks, like lean on the leg; apply pressure to relieve the hyper-tone. In my case, my locked glute has required direct action. I have learned to isolate my Gluteus Medius, and activate it when doing a set of customized exercises. Leg abduction with a looped resistance band around both thighs. Going upstairs/downstairs. The reason is that the glute-med sometimes switches off, even with people who have not had a stroke. This even leads to them falling down. Normally we have muscle synergy where 20-30 muscles will accomplish a task together. That may be the ultimate refinement, where even back muscles are perfectly orchestrated to play their role in walking, for example. What I am saying is that we lose the ability to use muscle synergy, and may have to work on individual muscles to wake them up so that they can be integrated in a balanced way.

I may still be quite away from offering help to you, Derek, but in my case I had to rethink what the term muscle synergy means. And fully understand it. I think I partially resolved my locked glute problem, since it is about 50% what it used to be. The theories I have about my eye are many and wild. Again, I have never heard of anyone with my set of problems, but the eye is a very delicate part of the body. I know the liver channel ends with the eye, and again, this goes back to Chinese medicine, but I am comfortable with that, and I am not particularly fond of Western medicine, though it does depend on the topic.

I hope you come up with ideas that help. The odds seem unsurmountable, but I often tell myself to persevere, as the solution may be right around the corner, and I may be closer than I realize. This is what I tell my Violin students, so now it’s my turn not to give up.

Wishing you some sort of breakthrough, even a minor one.
Hope to hear from you soon, ciao, Roland


Roland, it pains me to hear about your eye. Must be torture. Have you thought about the eye muscles themselves? They can cause quite a bit of pain and sometimes need eye exercises to remedy the situation. I’m sure your Chinese doctor knows best though.
Glad your Glute seems to be improving. I asked my Physiatrist, an MD and physical therapist why, when I exercise my shoulders, I feel the pain and tingling down in my leg. He said “Derek, it is all connected”. So I guess that alludes to the synergy you speak of.
Ironically, this evening, I was watching an episode of “The Crown”. It was about how Princess Margaret had multiple strokes, how she passed away, and her symptoms. She lived quite an unhealthy lifestyle.
Stroke is an insidious and unpredictable thing and hits all of us survivors in different ways.
I’m going to take Lorraine’s advice and chill out for a wee spell…let my brain rest and regroup. We can continue to share thoughts and ideas for improvement and I look forward to it.
Wishing you the best; Derek


It is encouraging to read at your locked glute days are becoming a milder. Maybe it’s a case of perseverance has its rewards in the long term?

Your eye is obviously a concern. Are you using carbomer (not sure I spelt that correctly) artificial teardrops? They lubricate the eye. I guess your expensive eye people have ruled out infections? Is it still down to the gland not producing sufficient oils? Mine although not 100% seems to be less frequently & less painfully a problem (Touchwood)¡!

Have either or both of you looked at “closed chain exercises” by the way. I might have got it backwards and it’s open chain exercises but one set is supposed to work in different ways to the other
I know I’ve said to Roland in the past maybe slowing down and easing back on exercises is a way to get past spasticity?
That is: a little gentle exercise that is only 30% of your normal capacity might help relieve spasticityÂż? - I believe no exercise and too much both cause problems


As always, thx for your great input, Simon

Yes I use carbomer 0.2 overnight gel, and my eye drops are nice and oily. Still, my stroke-side eye is very unsettled, at night, and for 90 minutes in the morning. I hope it will settle, in time.

I know Isotonic and isometric exercises. Closed-chain and open-chain exercises similar in ways; both great. Easing back is also great, I agree… I certainly have, and the days off allow me to regroup my energies. Getting exercises in the goldilocks zone is ideal; as you say not too much / not too little. I did 16 minutes total on treadmill on Saturday; 5 mins longer than my previous record. Much need encouragement for myself.

I did pop my head in on Xmas day, but couldn’t see anyone in your living room / maybe I should have shouted out? Never mind, we went off to see friends on Xmas day. Anyway, hope you and Lea are having an excellent Xmas,

cheers, Roland


I don’t think that’s to do with the healthy synergy, Derek. I think that’s still a problem of not enough independence of nerves and muscles. They are too connected, because there is not enough refinement of control by the brain / nerves. As your skills improve, they will gain independence. Try to consciously relax your leg while you work your upper body… I tend to tense up my arms while on my treadmill, and that’s another mechanism altogether that needs tweaking.

I think an equivalent I had is when lifting a dumbbell weight with my arm my foot would curl as I applied force. Again, this is lack of independence and lack of refinement. I think it’s tricky to diagnose these problems without seeing them, so there’s a good chance I am barking up the wrong tree by simply having read your post and imagined something similar, but entirely different.

Anyway, happy painting, and good luck with the muscles,
ciao, Roland


I recognise that toes curling when the arm hand is making an effort. I try and grip my toothbrush or the sponge that I use to wash the car, or carry a coffee cup and my toes curl .

I have taken two lifting my foot when I attempt to grip the toothbrush, especially as I attempt to sustain the grip beyond the first two or three seconds then I try and put the foot down on the ground without it curling up.

I’m completely convinced that your correct about learning independence so this is my first hypothesis about how to do that :slight_smile:

Yep you definitely should have shouted :slight_smile: I don’t know what time that was but we were in the kitchen as Lee was finishing preparing Christmas lunch for a while and I had left zoom connected so that probably was the time I was sat there for a while because I was playing with an old USB microscope

Maybe see you tomorrow from 1:00 p.m.?

Not sure what time zone Derek is in Pacific mountain or Eastern but if you look Derek @Outlander at the regular Café’s post it should display in your time zone - would be good to meet you virtually too :slight_smile:

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@pando @SimonInEdinburgh
|I’m going to Google Closed Chain and check it out. I’ve read your posts and as usual glean lots of good insight…thanks.
I am in New Jersey East Coast. One of the closest States to the UK. Just a stone’s throw. :smile:


So gmt-5
We will be zooming tomorrow @ 13:00 GMT & future Thursdays

You’re welcome anytime

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I’m not sure what 13:00 means, is that military time? I’m confused about gmt-5 as well.

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I think that will be 3 am. I will be snug in my bed.

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Oh !

Do the Americans not used in 24-hour clock? :slight_smile: 1300 is 1:00 p.m.

GMT is the time zone that the UK runs on therefore GMT -5 is 5 hours behind GMT which I think would be eastern standard time

GMT sometimes also called universal time coordinates for UTC

Therefore I would think when we are 1300 and if you are GMT-5 you will be at 0800 :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


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Simon, We still love our Inches, feet, Miles, pounds ounces, etc. :rofl:
So am I right is saying if you Zoom at 8 am it will be 3 am for me?
you are 6 hours ahead.
If here, I said to my pal, “I’ll see you at 1300 hours” he’d look at me with confusion.

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@pando Ahhh now I understand: it is like the bodybuilders say; Mind over muscle.
You put all your attention on the muscle you are working . ALL your attention.